Ian Walsh, taking in the view from one of Honolua's finest vantage points. Photo: Noyle

The state of Hawaii has allocated $20 million of their budget to purchase 280 acres of land surrounding Maui's famed Honolua Bay from the Maui Land and Pineapple Company. Once finalized, the state will designate Honolua as a state park. The decision was met with enthusiastic cries of support by members of the Save Honolua Coalition, a group that has been pressuring the state to protect the land from a series of proposed developments, including a golf course and a series of luxury homes.

For more than six years, the Save Honolua coalition has been fighting to preserve the cultural, historical, and archeological significance of the land to ensure that it remains unblemished. According to Tamara Paltin, president of the Save Honolua Coalition, this announcement is a massive leap forward to protect Honolua’s natural state.

“For us the decision by the state to purchase Honolua is a monumental event. Future generations of keiki will be able to enjoy Honolua without any fear of development. It also means we can now focus our attention and efforts on restoring the ecosystem, which has been experiencing significant decline and on community based resource management utilizing Native Hawaiian practices and values.”

The approved budget to purchase the land still has to pass through a number of governmental hoops, but according to Maui’s State Senator Roz Baker, the move should pass without a hitch. “It’s a done deal that this is going to happen, but it’s not going to happen tomorrow or the next day,” Baker told the Maui News. “The funds don’t become available until July, and there’s a process that follows.”

For surfers like Maui’s Ian Walsh, it’s heartwarming to know that Honolua will remain untouched. "Honolua is such an important place on Maui. There's a lot more to it than just the wave. Getting down there and experiencing the bay, the cliffs, the nature…it's all a part of the experience. It's the place as a whole, it's not just the wave that makes it so special. I'm really happy that they've protected the area from development. I'm stoked that my kids and even my grandkids will be able to experience this place the same way I did."